An Opportunity to Restore and Reverse the alarming loss of Australia’s Flora and Fauna

Australia's 2023 environmental reform addresses critical biodiversity loss by overhauling ineffective laws, introducing new standards, and enhancing native species and habitat protection. This initiative aims to reverse historical environmental decline and safeguard the country's unique ecosystem.

An Opportunity to Restore and Reverse the alarming loss of Australia’s Flora and Fauna

Australia's new environmental reform in 2023 is fundamentally driven by the alarming loss rate of its unique flora and fauna and the inadequacies in existing environmental protection laws. The reform is a response to several key factors contributing to ecological degradation and biodiversity loss in Australia:

  1. Historical Loss of Biodiversity: Since European colonisation, Australia has witnessed a significant loss of its unique wildlife, with about 100 species of flora and fauna being wiped off the planet. This rate of loss is among the highest in the world. The country has lost 34 mammals, roughly equal to the total number of mammal extinctions in the rest of the world over the past two centuries​​.
  2. Flora Extinction and Threats: Australia's flora is under severe pressure. 37 species have been declared extinct, including various unique orchids and trees. Additionally, over 1300 species of flora are listed as threatened, highlighting the country's critical state of plant biodiversity​​.
  3. Initial Wave of Extinctions and Ongoing Threats: The initial wave of extinctions in Australia was mainly due to hunting, rapid urban and agricultural expansion, and the introduction of invasive species such as cats, rabbits, and foxes. The extinction rate continues to escalate in modern times due to land clearing, habitat degradation, bushfires, and the ongoing threat from invasive species​​​​.
  4. Inadequate Protection of Habitats: Between 2000 and 2017, approximately 8 million hectares of threatened species' habitats were cleared in Australia, and a significant portion of this still needs to be assessed under existing legislation despite the legal powers to do so. This indicates a gap in the implementation and enforcement of environmental laws​​.
  5. Inadequacies of the EPBC Act: The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act, enacted in 1999, was found to be ineffective in its implementation. There were issues with compliance, enforcement, and the lack of a mandate to prevent the destruction of threatened species' habitats. Amendments over the years have further weakened public and industry confidence in the regime​​​​.
  6. Need for Comprehensive and Effective Legislation: The 2023 reform aims to address the shortcomings of the EPBC Act. It was recognised that the national laws were not fit to address current or future environmental challenges, and there was a need for more efficient and effective legislation. The reform aims to introduce a new, independent regulator to monitor and enforce compliance with environmental standards​​.
  7. Ambitious Environmental Targets: The reform is part of the Federal government’s ambitious approach to environmental protection, which includes commitments to zero new extinctions, more robust emissions reductions, and protecting 30% of Australia’s land and oceans​​.

In summary, Australia's environmental reform in 2023 is a response to the dire state of its unique biodiversity and the ineffectiveness of existing environmental laws. It represents a comprehensive approach to tackle the historical and ongoing threats to its flora and fauna, aiming to implement more robust, more effective legislation and enforcement mechanisms to protect and restore the country's natural environment.

If the Australian Government can ensure any new legislation covers the prior points of concern, there is real hope of restoring and reversing a lot of the flora and fauna loss seen to date.

Keep in the Loop

Implore user action with this attractive form.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.